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Proverbial Thought for the Day 2: Love Them Enough to Discipline 

Proverbial Thought for the Day 2 – Love Them Enough to Discipline 

Today’s Proverb:

“Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24, NLT)

It’s a touchy subject, isn’t it? But it’s right there in plain sight in the book of Proverbs, so anyone claiming to be a Christ follower can’t dismiss these words. Not even me.

It’s true that I grew up in a different era than children today. Most everyone I knew, whether from church or school or the neighborhood kids, had a keen understanding of “the rod.” It shaped how we treated other people and generally resulted in a higher level of respect—respect for our parents, respect for our teachers and principals, and respect for those in authority or leadership. 

I’ll never forget my dad taking me aside for a little corporal punishment and making this comment: “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” I thought he was just saying empty words to make himself feel better, but later, as a parent myself, I saw how true those words were. We don’t enjoy disciplining our children—we do it because we love them.

And loving them includes instilling in them the mindset of respect for authority, being polite, kind and responsible adults, and understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around them. 

Often when we are asked why we choose to discipline our children, the best response is that it isn’t our idea—it’s God’s. He created each of us and understands the need we all have for discipline. This same principle will follow us into our Father/child relationship with our heavenly Father. We will still need to respond appropriately to discipline if we are to please Him and grow spiritually.

God is a God of consistency. He doesn’t waver and change His mind when we try to charm our way out of sin. We too must stay consistent in our approach to disciplining our children. If we sometimes allow this or that but other times move in swiftly with correction, we confuse our kids and make them insecure.

Disciplined children are more secure children. They know their boundaries and feel safe within them. That’s the way it is for the believer as well. Following God’s principles brings light and safety and being obedient brings mutual joy into our relationship. 

The Bible lays out the idea of the “rod” of discipline. Young children do not understand reason, but they will respond to a pop on the hand or rear when they do something that will either bring them harm or that is deliberately disobedient. This “rod” is never one of anger or abuse, but rather loving correction.

None of us will ever get it all right. But we have been given guidelines for parenting right in the pages of Scripture from our Creator God, the One who knows us best and understands our needs and behaviors. Allowing Him to motivate and shape our behaviors and practices as parents is always going to gain the best results. It doesn’t mean that our children won’t mess up and disappoint us at times. But it will mean that we gave them the best foundation possible for becoming productive, respectful and responsible adults. The rest lies on their shoulders.

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